50 Years in 50 Days: 1984

Fifty years ago, Appleton Professional Baseball joined the Midwest League. As part of 50 Years in 50 Days, Rattler Radio is counting down to April 5 with a look back at each season of Appleton Professional Baseball team since 1962 (with a lot of help from MWLGuide.com and baseball-reference.com). The countdown to Opening Day, 2012 has reached 28.

28 Years Ago:
The Foxes are trying for their third straight MWL Pennant.

Request:  This is the point where I would normally place the cover of the program.  Later in the post a team photo would be placed.  This is where some of the blanks appear in Appleton baseball history.  If anyone reading this has old Foxes programs and old Foxes photographs, please drop a comment on this post and I’ll respond with a way to contact me.  (I will also toss out a request for Papermakers programs and photos at this point).  Thank you in advance.

Name: Appleton Foxes
Affiliation: Chicago White Sox (19th season)
Manager: Sal Rende (1st season)
Record: 87-49 (1st, North)

Future MLB Players:
Pitcher Britt Burns (1-0, 1.80) in one game – a start – with 5K in 5IP
Pitcher Ed Correa (10-6, 3.44) in 26 games – all starts – with 135K in 149IP
Pitcher Joel Davis (1-2, 6.02) in 11 games – 10 starts – with 38K in 40.1IP
Pitcher Doug Drabek (1-0, 1.80) in one game – a start – with 6K in 5IP
Pitcher Kevin Hickey (4-3, 2.36) in 10 games – 8 starts – with a save and 40K in 49.2IP
First baseman Russ Morman hit .262 with seven homers and 80RBI in 122 games
Pitcher Bruce Tanner (12-4, 1.96) in 37 games – nine starts – with 2 saves and 91K in 123.2IP
Outfielder Kenny Williams hit .286 with five homers and 26RBI in 38 games

Category Leaders:
AVG: Dave McLaughlin – .305
HR: Roger Jensen – 13
RBI Russ Morman – 80
SB: Mike Taylor – 49
OPS: Tom Moritz – .789
WINS: Jim Hickey – 13
ERA: Jim Hickey – 1.81
IP: John Johnson – 170.1
SO: John Johnson – 136
SAVES: Jim Hickey – 20

Probably Brothers Stat:  Jim Hickey and Kevin Hickey are both from Chicago. Kevin was a member of the Foxes in 1979 and spent 1981-1983 with the White Sox and 1989-1991 with Baltimore.  Judging by the category leaders, Jim Hickey appeared to have a VERY interesting 1984 season as he went 13-5 with a 1.81ERA and 20 saves in 99.1IP.  He did this in 49 games – all in relief.  Yes. VERY interesting.

Schoup Stat:  Kevin Hickey’s bullpen page notes that he played Schoup in Major League II.

Kevin Hickey with the Chicago White Sox, in his pre-Major League II phase.


Only The One Start Stat: Doug Drabek made one start for the Foxes in 1984.  He also pitched in Glens Falls, Chicago’s AA affiliate in the Eastern League, and went 12-5.

But, That’s Not The End Stat:  Drabek’s transactions page has this: August 13, 1984: the Chicago White Sox sent Doug Drabek and Kevin Hickey to the New York Yankees to complete an earlier deal made on July 18, 1984. July 18, 1984: The Chicago White Sox sent players to be named later to the New York Yankees for Roy Smalley.

Future Foe Stat: Russ Morman, would go on to manage against the Timber Rattlers in 2000 and 2001 as the skipper of the Kane County Cougars.  His bullpen page notes that he was the hitting coach in Fresno last season.

1984 MWL Season:
Two changes in the MWL for 1984.  The Wisconsin Rapids Twins were sold and moved to Kenosha.  In Peoria, the Suns changed their nickname to the Chiefs.  No changes were made in the three division setup:

North: Appleton Foxes, Kenosha Twins, Madison Muskies, Wausau Timbers
Central: Beloit Brewers, Cedar Rapids Reds, Clinton Giants, Springfield Cardinals
South: Burlington Rangers, Peoria Suns, Quad Cities Cubs, Waterloo Indians

1984 All-Star Game:
The South beat the North 5-4 at Burlington on July 28.

NOTE: That the details on the All-Star Games are going to be a bit spotty for the next 10 or 11 posts.

1984 Postseason:
The Foxes had the best record in the Midwest League during the 1984 season.  Beloit won the Central with an 86-53 record.  Springfield won the South with a 70-69 record.  Madison finished second in the North with a 77-61 record for the Wild Card.

The Foxes beat Madison in Game Three of a best-of-three first round.  Springfield swept Beloit in the other Divisional series.

This set up the third straight playoff meeting between the Foxes and Springfield.  Appleton defeated the Cardinals in the divisional round in 1982 and in the Finals in 1983.  In the best-of-five 1984 Championship Series, the Foxes took their third straight pennant with a Game Five win over the Cardinals.

The only other franchise to win three straight MWL pennants was Waterloo (1958-60).  At the time, Waterloo was an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

1984 MWL Alumni of Note:
Edgar MartinezWausau Timbers

Edgar Martinez played for the Wausau Timbers in 1984.

Edgar Martinez hit .303 with 15 homers and 66 RBI in 126 games for the Timbers.  Martinez was signed as a free agent by the Mariners in 1982.  The 1984 season was his first full season in pro ball.  Eleven years after Wausau he helped save baseball in Seattle with The Double.  He has a real possibility of becoming the first designated hitter to be elected to the Hall of Fame.  Plus, the MLB award for DH’s is named after him.

Brewers Farmhands of Note:
Joey Meyer – Beloit Brewers

Donruss put DH on the card, but used a picture of Joey Meyer playing defense?

Meyer, a 5th round pick in 1983, had a breakout season with Beloit in 1984.  He won the MWL Triple Crown by hitting .320 with 30 homers and 102 RBI.  Meyer was known for his prodigious power.  His bullpen page remarks that while he was in Denver: One of his homers was estimated at a titanic 582 feet.

Continuing on from the bullpen page:

Meyer had a decent year at Milwaukee in 1988 (11-45-.263), but was disappointing in 1989, returning to Denver for part of the year. Ray Poitevint then helped Joey land a job in Japan. He hit .275-26-77 for the Taiyo Whales in 1990, but didn’t enjoy his stay in Japan, citing disagreements over injuries. The Daily Yomiuri also stated that Meyer was let go “because he could not play Manager Yutaka Sudos brand of baseball that stresses speed and defense.”

Joey signed a Triple-A contract with an invitation to Major League camp with the Minnesota Twins following the season. Meyer wound up playing with the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. He retired after a mediocre 6-35-.250 showing in 75 games, as a broken wrist ended his career.

Chris Bosio – Beloit Brewers

Chris Bosio TOPPS card.

Bos was in Beloit in 1983, but 1984 was a big year for him.  Bosio, a 2nd round pick in the January draft in 1982, was 3-10 in 13 starts with an ERA over 5.00 in 17 starts.  But in 1984 he went 17-6 with a 2.73ERA in 26 games – all starts – and struck out 156 batters in 181 innings pitched during 1984.  He topped the Midwest League in wins, was second in innings pitches, and finished fifth in strikeouts.

Bosio became a Brewer in 1986 and – after bouncing between the bullpen and starting for a few seasons – joined the rotation full time in 1989.  He was 16-6 in 1992 with just 44 walks in 231-1/3 innings pitched.

Bosio, who is now the pitching coach for the Chicago Cubs, went 67-62 in seven years with the Brewers.  He pitched a no-hitter and made his only postseason appearances for the Seattle Mariners.

Chris Bosio celebrates his no-hitter. From SI.

Bosio, a personal favorite of mine and someone I have been lucky enough to interview and talk with over the years, pitched eleven seasons in the big leagues with a 94-93 record.

Good luck in Chicago, Bos.

Opening Day, 2012 is April 5.  Get here soon!


The 1984 ASG took place on the opening day of the Los Angeles Olympics, and press coverage was–well, I couldn’t find any. I did enjoy remembering Connie Carpenter-Phinney’s cycling road race win.

Of course, then my job got out of hand , and I never got back to the project. This is the exact place my website died. I sometimes mourn it.

Funny how life gets in the way? Your website is very helpful and I can get lost in there for a couple of days. Thank you for still having it available, Joel.

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